Community must get rid of violent influence

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The tragic and chaotic homicide last week on highly-traveled North Main Street is a stark reminder that violence can erupt at any time and any place here or elsewhere.

It should go without saying that our Public Safety personnel deserve ample credit for their swift investigation into the shooting and their ability to pinpoint the suspects and the horrible narrative that led to this tragic event.

But more importantly, this daylight murder illustrates the need for community involvement in weeding out those who live by this code of violence.

The process to rid a community of a violent influence takes the combined efforts of everyone.

If that element lives in subsidized housing of any sort, they should be removed.

And pressure should be put on landlords who rent to individuals who have a violent criminal background.

And Public Safety officers should closely monitor the associations and activities of those with violent criminal histories.

Is this too close to a police state to be comfortable? No, it's common sense measures designed to protect those who follow the laws.

And the judicial community has a key role in this process as well. Judges in our region hold substantial powers and should never -- never -- diminish their powers by handing down suspended sentences when the way to protect society is to remove that element from our community.

We have a problem in society when our goal is to "understand" this problem population and put the tools in their hands to restart their lives.

We fail to understand the reality that some people -- for a variety of reasons -- are simply violent by nature and no amount of education, counseling and taxpayer funding can change.

You simply have to design a strategy that removes them from our community.

We are not guaranteed a whole lot in society,but one overriding assurance should be the ability to be safe in public.

But increasingly, that assurance is being eroded by those who fail to live by society's rules yet demand that society pay for their every need.

That time must come to an end.

No community wants a reputation for violence. And despite this past week's tragic episode, we still shun that label and we can back it up with facts and statistics.

Yet it takes little to fracture and damage a community's reputation and there are those in surrounding communities who attach that label here.

They are wrong.

You don't have to look far away to see headlines of shootings and robberies. In St. Louis on one single day this past week, police recorded six murders. Granted, it's St. Louis but it sure hits close to home.

Cape Girardeau had a shooting this week though details remain illusive at this point.

We have no greater challenge here -- just like other communities -- than the assurance of safety for our public.

If we ignore this issue, we risk our own peril.

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